This shouldnt surprise me, because his standard approach is to return to the sources and cut through the flights of fancy and invented traditions that generally come with ancient history, from the Punic Wars to Caesar to Antony and Cleopatra. Goldsworthy always takes pleasure from debunking invented traditions, and this book is no exception. He takes the time to point out that the Ptolemies were Greeks from a Greek tradition, and that we do not know what Cleopatra really looked like. Furthermore, Goldsworthy points out that luck and opportunity played a part in Antonys career (for instance he happened to be consul, i.e. in power, when Caesar was murdered) which helped to obscure the fact that he was not as capable as he would like to present himself.
Caesar, Octavian and Antony vs. Even so, Goldsworthy sees a more machiavellian Cleopatra trying to play both sides as Antony's fortunes plummeted after his defeat at Actium, and he makes a compelling argument.
'Marcus Antonius en Cleopatra' geeft mij een beetje een kunstmatige indruk in vergelijking met andere boeken van de auteur.
In between this story is also the tale of one on Antony's wives Fulvia - a woman who would make a good story in her own right having been deeply involved in many key events at the fall of the republic. It uses good scholarship to do down the Cleopatra as murderer theory that Neil Oliver did a TV documentary on too.
Despite the story told in the Elizabeth Taylor movie 'Cleopatra' Antony spent more time as a politician and a rabid fornicator than he does as a soldier. And as a soldier Goldsworthy points out that Antony was at best a mediocre commander of men. Ptolemy was one of Alexander's finest subordinate generals and upon Alexanders death his Empire is split into several large pieces known as the Successor States who then pick up the past time of beating each others brains in for the next two centuries until both Persian (Parthian) and Roman power destroys or envelopes them. Her own story is actually more interesting than Marc Antony's seeing as how Antony was, largely, a subordinate of someone far more intelligent than he was.
A succession of books followed dealing with aspects of ancient military history, including Roman Warfare, The Punic Wars (which was later re-issued as the Fall of Carthage), Cannae, In the Name of Rome and the Complete Roman Army. In the last couple of years audiences have included local history societies, graduates and undergraduates in a range of countries, the cadets of VMI, and the distinguished cast of a new production of Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra.